Game Bites: Tofu Kingdom

In Game Bites we talk about fun food themed games and accessibility in gaming. My co-author is my son, Jacob, a non-nuerotypical aspiring chef. Every month we try a new game, he cooks a delicious related dish and shares the recipe, and we talk about the pros and cons of what we’ve played. So sit back, tuck your napkin in, and have a bite with us!

Prince Mochi has journeyed to the Tofu kingdom in order to be united with his beloved Tofu Princess. But there are political machinations afoot! Queen Tofu and her allies are attempting to thwart the young lovers, while spies in their midst have their own secret agendas. Can you unite the kingdoms?

Players will take turns acting as Prince Mochi in this cute social deduction game from Blue Orange. Random roles are distributed and kept secret. Prince Mochi is allowed to ask one of three questions to every player:
Where is Princess Tofu? Who are you? Who is (indicated player)?

Players must answer according to the symbol in the top right corner of their role card that indicates their alliance. Some characters always tell the truth, some always lie, and others may switch depending on their agenda.

Once the Prince has asked a question of every player, they may ask one player an additional question. Then Prince Mochi attempts to guess who is the Tofu Princess. If the player correctly chooses Princess Tofu, all characters with the heart symbol receive a soybean (victory point), if the Queen is chosen, those with the crown symbol will be awarded a soybean, and if the mask is picked, then the Pudding Spy and Tofu Maid will each get a soybean. The Prince Mochi character is passed to the next player, and play continues until the round limit is reached. The player with the most soybeans wins!

Tofu and Bok Choy Stir Fry

1 block firm tofu
1 cups soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp water
2 bok choy (about 6 baby bok choy)
2 carrots, shredded

Start by pressing the tofu to remove excess water. Drain the tofu, cube it, spread it on a cookie sheet, then place another cookie sheet over it with a weight (I use a cast iron skillet) on top.
While your tofu is being pressed, make up your marinate. Use the soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.
Place the drained tofu in a bowl and cover in the marinade. Pop it in the fridge for about an hour.
At the end of your hour, chop bok choy into roughly bite sized pieces. Dump the entire contents of the marinating tofu into a hot skillet or wok with the sesame oil and add the carrots. While these are cooking, make a slurry out of the cornstarch and water (mix them together til the cornstarch is disolved) and add the brown sugar to this mix. Slowly add this to the hot pan, stirring thoroughly. As the sauce starts to thicken, add your bok choy and continue to cook til its wilted.

Tips:
– Crushed red pepper, green onion, and sesame make great toppings for this easy stir fry. You can also serve this with all sorts of starches – in the pictured version I used buckwheat soba.
– The better you drain your tofu, the more marinate it will take in.
– Adding the brown sugar later in the cooking is important to keep the dish from developing a bitter or burnt taste.

Jacob’s Thoughts:
Tofu Kingdom is a lighthearted game about truths and lies, the objective depending on what character you are. The game was another quick and fun one, though it definitely benefits from more people. The art was not my favourite though it was amusing how they made each individual character and it kept game play lighthearted. Also, the colour and symbol roles used to separate the three opposing teams was a good way to help players identify easily which team they belong to. I think the rules would benefit from some more art or symbols to help with comprehension, but are simple enough that a few rounds of play should help all players know whats going on. 

AnnaMaria’s Thoughts:

I’m generally not good at bluffing/social deduction type games but this is a super fun version – a little court intrigue wrapped up in adorable art and a easy version of the mechanic that makes it accessible to any level player. Its hard to feel like anyone is being mean spirited when you’re playing as rice cakes and bean curd. I think the one thing that might improve the game would be stands for the cards. We found that players frequently forgot their symbol or the ‘dummy’ card’s one and sometimes misspoke as a result. Great size for a purse or backpack (the tin measures about 4×4) but you’ll want to add a little baggie to keep your soybeans in check. Additionally, larger type would be a huge plus – its not readable from across the table.

Final Bite:

Adorable little social deduction game makes a fun intro for newcomers as well as those more experienced with the mechanic. Travel sized. Could use a few tweaks to improve visual accessibility. Cute art and fun story keep competitive play light and fluffy.